| 
Janet Domenitz
Executive Director

Author: Janet Domenitz

Executive Director

(617) 747-4320

Started on staff: 1980
B.A., magna cum laude, Brandeis University.

Janet has been the executive director of MASSPIRG since 1990 and directs programs on consumer protection, zero waste and recycling, health and safety, public transportation, and voter participation. Janet has co-founded or led coalitions, including Earth Day Greater Boston, Campaign to Update the Bottle Bill and the Election Modernization Coalition. Janet serves as vice president for the Consumer Federation of America; and serves on the Common Cause Massachusetts executive committee, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow board of directors, and Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee. For her work, Janet has received Common Cause’s John Gardner Award and Salem State University’s Friend of the Earth Award. Janet lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her husband and two sons and every Wednesday morning she slow-runs the steps at Harvard Stadium with the November Project.

Started on staff: 1980
B.A., magna cum laude, Brandeis University.

 

To: Joint Committee on Election Laws

Fr: Janet Domenitz, Executive Director, MASSPIRG

April 3, 2013

Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony today on S.327, Reforming Election Laws, sponsored by Chairman Finegold.  I am representing the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing members in cities and towns across the state.  We do research, advocacy, and organizing around consumer protection, public health, and democracy issues.

Our organization supports S.327 and all of its provisions, but I would like to highlight three of them in my testimony:

#1- Online voter registration: The collecting, exchanging, and storing of information through the internet now boggles the mind. From the website Mashable, a couple of data points: In one 24 hour period:

a-294 billion emails are sent (it would take 2 years to process that many pieces of mail in the US)

b-18.7  million hours of music is streamed on Pandora (if one computer started streaming Pandora in the year 1 AD it would still be going)

c-iPhone sales now outpace the human population (378,000 IPhones sold in a day, 371,000 babies born)

(from: http://mashable.com/2012/03/06/one-day-internet-data-traffic/)

So, with that as some background, it must be time that we can go online and register to vote.

#2-Pre-registration for 16-17 year olds: First of all, as a parent of a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old, I’m all for anything that introduces the concept of ‘good citizen’ into their lives as soon as possible. And the facts reinforce how important it is to introduce teenagers to voting early.

-According to an organization called Campus Vote, well over a quarter of college students reported in 2010 that they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how  to register or they missed the deadline.

-According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, (CIRCLE) Massachusetts has the highest percentage of new eligible voters (18-21), at 9.5% of the population.

-CIRCLE also did a poll of 4,483 young Americans, ages 18-24, conducted from the day after the election until December 21. Of those who recalled studying voting during high school, 60.2% turned out to vote in 2012–as opposed to only 43% of those who recalled no civic education course.  The more that respondents’ teachers had taught them about voting, the more likely they were to vote in 2012.

#3- Early voting:  My beloved father-in-law often used the expression “…in today’s world.” So, in his honor, I assert that in today’s world, where people have family, work, school and other commitments in a hectic and seemingly 24/7 cycle of activity, allowing for something as important as voting over the course of a 13 hour period on a designated day in the middle of the week seems inhibiting. Early voting will allow people to exercise their franchise a bit more conveniently.

Thank you for your consideration.

Janet Domenitz
Executive Director

Author: Janet Domenitz

Executive Director

(617) 747-4320

Started on staff: 1980
B.A., magna cum laude, Brandeis University.

Janet has been the executive director of MASSPIRG since 1990 and directs programs on consumer protection, zero waste and recycling, health and safety, public transportation, and voter participation. Janet has co-founded or led coalitions, including Earth Day Greater Boston, Campaign to Update the Bottle Bill and the Election Modernization Coalition. Janet serves as vice president for the Consumer Federation of America; and serves on the Common Cause Massachusetts executive committee, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow board of directors, and Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee. For her work, Janet has received Common Cause’s John Gardner Award and Salem State University’s Friend of the Earth Award. Janet lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her husband and two sons and every Wednesday morning she slow-runs the steps at Harvard Stadium with the November Project.

Started on staff: 1980
B.A., magna cum laude, Brandeis University.